Sunday, January 10, 2021

Silvermine Lake and Black Mountain Winter Hike

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Menomine Trail: Yellow blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Silvermine Road: Unblazed

Total Time: 2:35
Estimated Distance: 4.5 miles

Pros: Great views, scenic lake, good climb
Cons: None
Hike Type: Loop
Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Map of Route:

Hiking Partner:
Yehudah Koblick

This was a cold January day, and were surprised to see snow cover on the ground once we entered the higher elevation of Harriman State Park. We parked in the Silvermine parking area, and crossed the bridge towards the old ski hills. We took the Menomine Trail alongside Silvermine Lake, and then continued on the trail as it climbed up Letterock Mountain. We then took the combined Appalachian/Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail up the steep climb past the Letterock Shelter. We continued on the combined trail along the ridge and the descended to the valley where Silvermine Road was.

We crossed Silvermine Road and took the trail up the new stairs to the Black Mountain view. This area was recently refurbished with new stone steps. On my hike the week prior, I met a hiker on Storm King who told me about the newly refurbished trail, so I had wanted to check it out. It was indeed as he said, and in fact I met him there atop the Black Mountain view. We continued east past the view overlooking Silvermine Lake, ascending along the ridge to the summit of Black Mountain, where there is another great view. 

We then turned around and went back down Black Mountain along the new steps, and then took Silvermine Road further down alongside the eastern side of Silvermine Lake. We then crossed the Queensboro Brook past the dam, and took the path the northern side of the lake and back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Old Ski Hills at the Beginning of the Hike

Snow Covered Area at the Beginning of the Hike

Silvermine Lake at the Beginning

Trail Sign at the Menomine Trail

Beautiful View of Silvermine Lake

Fallen Tree in Silvermine Lake

Ascending the Mountain on the Snowy Menomine Trail

Mountain Laurel Evergreens and Snow

Tents at the Letterrock Shelter

Me at the Letterrock Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

Me at the new Steps on the Appalachian Trail up Black Mountain

View of the Step up Black Mountain

Yehudah Ascending Black Mountain

More Newly Hewn Rock Steps

Snow at the top of Black Mountain

Black Mountain View Looking Towards Silvermine Lake

Silvermine Lake

Black Mountain View

Me at the First Black Mountain View

Yehudah at the First Black Mountain View

Lone Pine Tree at the First Black Mountain View

View from the Black Mountain Ridge, Facing South Towards Silvermine Road

View of Haverstraw and Palisades from Black Mountain

Scenery Atop Black Mountain

View from the Black Mountain Summit, Facing Southeast

View from the Black Mountain Summit, With the Manhattan Skyline in the Distance

View from the Black Mountain Summit

Me at the Black Mountain Summit

View Facing East/Southeast to the Hudson River

Yehudah at the Black Mountain Summit

Zoomed in Towards Haverstraw from Black Mountain

Pine Trees at the Black Mountain View

Small Waterfall Below the Silvermine Lake Dam

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Storm King Mountain Snowstorm Hike

Storm King State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Storm King Bypass Trail: White blaze
Stillman Trail: Yellow blaze
Butter Hill Trail: Orange blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hours
Estimated Distance: 2.4 miles

Pros: Great views and very scenic hike
Cons: None
Hike Type: Loop
Level of Difficulty: Difficult (especially in snow conditions)

Google Maps of Parking:

I had checked the weather forecast before leaving and the forecast called for light snow. I was surprised how quickly and intense the storm was, though I was properly prepared and had the proper gear.

I parked at the Butter Hill parking on Route 9W, and took the Storm King Bypass Trail along the side of the ridge going northeast. I crossed the Howell Trail and went to the end of the ridge, by the view facing across the river. At this point the snow started, and it came down heavy with whiteout conditions and almost zero visibility. I could see the snow coming in the distance from the viewpoint before it arrived, which was an unforgettable scene. I then took the Stillman Trail back along the top of the ridge, though I missed out on all the north-facing views due to the lack of visibility from the snow.

I continued along the ridge on the Stillman Trail, slowly navigating the downhill parts that were slippery in the snow. At the Butter Hill Summit, the visibility improved and the snow let down a bit. I continued along the Butter Hill Trail at this point, and the view facing the south was now visible. I continued along the Butter Hill Trail, slowly navigating down the challenging parts, back to my car. 

Map of the Route

Information Plaque at the Beginning of the Hike

View of the Hudson River and Cold Spring at the Parking Area

View from the Bypass Trail, Facing South

Hudson River and Cold Spring

Me at the Above View

The Beginning of the Snow at the View at the Bend of the Ridge

Me at the Snowy View

Snow through the Evergreen Mountain Laurels on the Stillman Trail

Snow Along the Ridge

More Snowy Scenes at Storm King

The Snowy Summit of Butter Hill

Me on Butter Hill

Descending Butter Hill on the Butter Hill Trail

View Facing South near the South of of Butter Hill

North Point and View from Butter Hill

Butter Hill Rocky Area

View of Route 9W at Storm King

Butter Hill View

View of the Parking Area from Butter Hill

Trail Confluence at the Butter Hill, Stillman, and Bluebird Trails

View of Butter Hill while Descending

View of the Hudson River while Descending

View of Bull Hill from Storm King

View of Butter Hill from the Parking Area